The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) has announced the Special Awards recipients for its seventh season of competition. This season will feature three special awards with the ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ and ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ joining the existing ‘Photography Appreciation Award’. These accolades are presented by HIPA to photographers that have contributed positively to photography as an artform and industry.
American photojournalist and five-time winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal, James Nachtwey, is set to be presented with the ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ for his outstanding services to photography throughout his career. He is joined by fellow American photographer and environmental activist James Balog, who will be presented with the ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ for his efforts in highlighting some of humanity’s biggest issues today through photography. Meanwhile, the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ is set to go to the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Muhammed Muheisen, who is the former Associated Press Chief Photographer for the Middle East and current National Geographic photographer.
HIPA’s ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ recipient, James Nachtwey said, "The reason I became a photographer was to be a war photographer. In no other circumstance is so much at stake for so many people. The consequences of war affect hundreds of thousands of people in such deep and tragic ways they shape the course of history for generations. In the gap between wisdom and political expedience, between truth and ambition, awaits tragedy. War creates a new reality, in which the unacceptable becomes inescapable and then becomes normal.”
The veteran photographer added, “I was driven by the idea that a picture that revealed the face of war could become a kind of intervention. I believed people would care if photographers could show them something to care about. I was most interested in what images might accomplish as a way to create awareness about the inevitable human cost of war. Images can help us grasp, on a human level, the things we all have in common, regardless of our differences, creating a bridge of understanding. It’s been said that journalism is the first draft of history. In a free society, the work of the press not only documents history, it also becomes a crucial factor in the process of change and can affect the course of history."
Nachtwey ended by saying, "Documentary photography aspires to create a bridge of human understanding, to show us what we all have in common, even as it explores the ways in which we are all different. The HIPA Award is an extension of that enterprise. It is a way of reaching out, of transcending barriers, of recognising each other and standing together."
James Balog, the recipient of HIPA’s ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ said of his win, “Making images is a vital part of how the human race perceives the world. Humanity has been drawing pictures for many tens of thousands of years in an effort to turn inchoate perception into concrete reality. In our time, evidence matters more than ever. Truth matters more than ever. From truth, we form a vision of what is right and true, a vision of who we are and where we are to go.”
Balog continued, “All this is why the work of HIPA is so important. All of us who participate in this organisation are part of the great perceptual history of Homo sapiens. We shine a photographic light, literally or symbolically, into the often-unseen corners of existence. In some ironic way, we help to make life come alive. So often, our work is solitary. Too often, our work takes us to the limits of emotional or physical or creative endurance. It is so necessary then, that every so often, through communion with like-minded people like our friends at HIPA, we get a chance to pause, to celebrate our shared interest, to smile.”
HIPA’s ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’ recipient Muhammed Muheisen said, “I feel honoured and humbled to be selected by HIPA to receive the ‘Emerging Person in Photography Award’. It is my personal belief, that the real recognition for photojournalists is when their work goes out to the wider-world and reaches the hearts and minds of the general public, creating an echo and spreading awareness about the topics within their photography. For me, receiving such a prestigious recognition means that the images and stories of the people in them will be seen and in-turn be translated as their voices to the rest of the world.”
The Secretary General of HIPA, His Excellency Ali bin Thalith said, “We are delighted to announce the three recipients of HIPA’s Special Awards for the seventh season of competition. We felt that each photographer has in his own way contributed massively to the artform and industry and are very deserving of their respective accolades. In the case of our ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ reciepient James Nachtwey, we are talking about someone that has put his own life on the line countless times to document world events with his camera. James is a veteran of the industry whose insurmountable passion and drive to deliver stunning photography resulted in many near-death experiences in various frontlines around the world. He is a role model to all photojournalists and we are proud to be able to present him with this accolade.”
Bin Thalith continued, “James Balog, who is the recipient of our ‘Photography Content Creator Award’ is a pioneer in the world of environmental awareness. His Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is a ground-breaking method of observing the effects of global warming using time-lapse photography. Methodical and intricate, it is James’ photographic eye which has perhaps helped him better bring climate-change to the fore of the world’s attention. It is only fitting that James’ efforts through EIS were documented in the Emmy Award winning documentary ‘Chasing Ice’, further raising the importance of climate change and its awareness to the masses. We congratulate James Balog on his win, and wish him continued success in his noble mission.”
Bin Thalith concluded, “We are also pleased to present our new accolade, the ‘Emerging Person in Photography’ Award to Muhammed Muheisen. Muheisen is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and has achieved so many remarkable feats despite his relative young age in the industry. It is our sincere belief that Muheisen will continue to excel and give back to the photographic industry in the coming years through his various projects and initiatives. His current focus on refugees both with National Geographic Magazine and his own Everyday Refugee Foundation will no doubt have a lasting impact on many people around the world.”
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, the seventh annual HIPA Awards Ceremony is set to take place on Monday the 12th of March 2018 at Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai at 7 pm (UAE Standard). Alongside the special awards recipients, the winners of HIPA’s seventh season competition will also be announced. Categories in HIPA’s seventh season of competition include, The Moment which also serves as the theme of the competition, General (Black and White), General (Colour), Portfolio and Time-lapse (Video).